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Formula 1 circuits
Since the start of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1950, 71 race tracks have hosted a Grand Prix race. Silverstone, the venue for the first Formula 1 GP, has featured on the F1 schedule almost ever since but many former F1 tracks have disappeared from the Grand Prix calendar. With the globalization of Formula One racing, new countries have joined and Asia and Eastern Europe now have their own F1 fixtures.
A revamped 2021 Formula 1 season is now scheduled to start with the Bahrain Grand Prix in March and is currently set to end in Abu Dhabi in December.
Despite a number of cancelled races due to ongoing problems with the coronavirus pandemic – including in Australia, Singapore, Canada, Japan and China – the sport is set to complete a record-breaking 22-round season.
F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “We have shown that we can continue to adapt and there is huge interest in our sport and the hope from many locations to have a grand prix.
“The huge effort from all the teams, F1 and the FIA has made it possible to deliver a 22-race calendar, something that is very impressive during a challenging year and something we can all be proud of.”
Here you’ll find the proposed 2021 F1 timetable and some interesting facts and figures about each GP circuit.
F1 race calendar 2021
Grand Prix dates and circuits
March 28 – Bahrain (Sakhir)
April 18 – Italy (Imola)
May 2 – Portugal (Algarve)
May 9 – Spain (Barcelona)
May 23 – Monaco (Monaco)
June 6 – Azerbaijan (Baku)
June 20 – France (Le Castellet)
June 27 – Austria (Spielberg)
July 4 – Austria (Spielberg)
July 18 – Great Britain (Silverstone)
August 1 – Hungary (Budapest)
August 29 – Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
September 5 – Netherlands (Zandvoort)
September 12 – Italy (Monza)
September 26 – Russia (Sochi)
October 10 – Turkey (Istanbul)
October 24 – USA (Austin)
October 31 – Mexico (Mexico City)
November 7 – Brazil (Sao Paulo)
November 21 – Qatar (Losail)
December 5 – Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)
December 12 – Abu Dhabi (Yas Island)
Bahrain International Circuit
Venue for the Bahrain Grand Prix, March 28
The track is 5.41 kilometres long and extremely curvy, but it’s considered to be one of the safest thanks to the vast run-off areas. The 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix, won by Michael Schumacher for Ferrari, was the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East.
What makes the Bahrain Grand Prix special?
Due to its location in the middle of the desert, an adhesive has to be sprayed on the sand around the circuit to keep it from being blown on the track during the race. Winners of the Bahrain Grand Prix do not get to spray champagne. Instead the organisers provide the drivers with Waard, a local soft drink made from rosewater and pomegranates.
Venue for the Italian Grand Prix, April 18
The track – one of the few circuits to run in an anti-clockwise direction – has undergone major work since 2007 and its exile from Formula One. A bypass to the Variante Bassa chicane was added for cars, making the run from Rivazza 2 to the first Tamburello chicane totally flat-out. The old pit garages and paddock have been demolished and completely rebuilt while the pit lane was extended and resurfaced.
What makes the Italian Grand Prix special?
San Marino venue Imola – which is named after Ferrari’s late founder, Enzo Ferrari, and his son Alfredo – was inaugurated in 1953 and is synonymous with the death of triple world champion Ayrton Senna in 1994. Senna was killed at the flat-out Tamburello corner, the day after Austrian Roland Ratzenberger crashed into a wall and was killed during Saturday qualifying. After Senna’s death, the Tamburello corner was reduced to a fourth gear left-right sweeper, and a gravel trap was added on the outside of the corner.
Venue for the Portuguese Grand Prix, May 2
Portimao’s Algarve International Circuit resembles the old Nurburgring and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium due to its constantly undulating nature. The different layout combinations allow for faster, challenging versions or slower, more technical ones. The track can encourage overtaking because of its width and should make for exciting racing.
What makes the Portuguese Grand Prix special?
The 100,000-capacity venue was finished in October 2008 at a cost of 195 million euros. Portimao has staged events ranging from the final round of the World Superbikes Championship to GP2 series events but a Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix had not been held since 1996 in Estoril until the 2020 return here. That race saw Lewis Hamilton break Michael Schumacher’s record for race wins, with the British ace passing the chequered flag first for the 92nd time.
Circuit de Catalunya
Venue for the Spanish Grand Prix, May 9
Circuit de Catalunya is situated 32 kilometres from Barcelona. The track is 4.65 kilometres long, with 16 corners: nine right turns and seven left turns. Top-end speed is decisive on this fast circuit with its long straights. The track is often used for test driving during the winter months, so the teams know the course inside out.
What makes the Spanish Grand Prix special?
Aerodynamics are one of the main success factors on the Spanish GP track. Close to the sea, it is subject to unpredictable weather conditions, especially strong winds that can destabilise the car’s aerodynamic balance.
Circuit de Monaco
Venue for the Monaco Grand Prix, May 23
The Prince of the street circuits, running along Monte Carlo harbour, and at 3,340 km the shortest track on the F1 calendar. Narrow, and almost without run-off areas, it’s considered the ultimate test for pilot skills. Circuit de Monaco boasts the slowest corner in F1, that forces pilots to slow down to 50 km.
What makes the Monaco Grand Prix special?
Winning in Monaco is the most glamorous victory of all. Since there are few points where overtaking is possible, the starting position is even more important than on other circuits. A unique challenge is the tunnel: drivers have to adjust their vision as they emerge in the daylight at the fastest point of the track. Perhaps the most special tidbit of information about this street circuit is that before the race, manhole covers are welded down because the down force created by an F1 car would rip them off.
Baku City Circuit
Venue for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, June 6
Baku City Circuit is a street circuit in the capital of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea. The 2021 GP is the eighth time the country will host a Formula 1 race in the modern era. The track is 6 kilometres long and features 20 turns: eight to right and 12 to left.
What makes the Azerbaijan Grand Prix special?
Despite a very narrow section through the medieval centre of Baku, it is one of the fastest F1 tracks on the calendar, with a straight stretch of 2.2 km. Unlike most F1 circuits, the driving direction is anti-clockwise.
Circuit Paul Ricard
Venue for the French Grand Prix, June 20
The circuit was originally financed by pastis magnate Paul Ricard, but after his death it was sold to Excelis, a company owned by Formula One promoter Bernie Ecclestone. Having been used for many years as a test venue, the 5.86km track has now been updated into a start-of-the art arena expected to provide a stern challenge for drivers.
What makes the French Grand Prix special?
Le Castellet, nestled amongst the Alpilles mountains of the Var region, was used on and off between 1971 and 1990 and has been the base for 14 grand prix races, with the first won by Jackie Stewart and the last three going to Alain Prost. Frenchman Romain Grosjean said of the lay-out: “It’s obviously going to be bloody quick! The Signes curve and the Beausset double right-hander are going to be really mind-boggling challenges. We’re going to arrive at between 300 and 330 km/h.”
Red Bull Ring
Venue for the Styrian Grand Prix, June 27 & Austrian Grand Prix, July 4
This circuit, formerly known as A1-Ring, is 4.326 kilometres long with a total of only eight turns: six right and two left. It’s located near the city of Spielberg in a beautiful hilly landscape and has hosted races since 1969.
What makes the Austrian Grand Prix special?
It’s a very fast circuit, with few and relatively quick corners and long straight stretches. Drivers go full throttle on more than 70% of the lap and the most powerful cars are clearly favoured. Due to the curvy downhill parts, Red Bull Ring can be tricky under wet conditions.
Venue for the British Grand Prix, July 18
A former Second World War Royal Air Force airfield, Silverstone Circuit is 5.89 kilometres long and features 18 corners: 10 right-handers and eight left-handers. The fast curves are very demanding on the drivers, due to the extremely high compression forces.
What makes the British Grand Prix special?
Apart from being a beautiful and fast track, Silverstone is a stronghold of tradition, where many legends were born. The very first world Championship GP was held here in 1950. Among the 21 drivers that took the start was Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh of the Thai royal family, who qualified fifth in his Maserati but ran out of fuel during the race.
Venue for the Hungarian Grand Prix, August 1
The 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix, won by Nelson Piquet, was the first Formula One Grand Prix to take place behind the Iron Curtain. Since then the Hungarian GP has been on the schedule every year. Hungaroring is 4,381 km long and notably twisty and bumpy.
What makes the Hungarian Grand Prix special?
The many corners, few straight sections, the heat and the dust conspire to make racing on this track a tough challenge for both drivers and cars. Overtaking is extremely difficult on Hungaroring, and a good start position is often decisive for success.
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Venue for the Belgian Grand Prix, August 29
This hill circuit in The Ardennes is 7 kilometres long, with 19 fast and medium fast corners: nine right turns and 10 left turns. It is the longest track on the F1 calendar and generally considered one of the most challenging, combining F1’s longest straight with difficult curves.
What makes the Belgian Grand Prix special?
Not surprisingly for anyone who knows the Belgian Ardennes, it’s the weather. This is always unpredictable and more often than not rainy. At one time in the long GP tradition of the circuit, it rained for 20 years in a row. The rain often falls in short showers that occur in parts of the circuit, leaving other parts dry. Tyre changes during the race are very common here, and a crucial factor for success.
Circuit Park Zandvoort
Venue for the Dutch Grand Prix, September 5
This 4.3-kilometre track is situated on the coast, around 40 minutes west of Amsterdam via train. Races start and finish halfway up a long straight tailor-made for overtaking, while the rest of the circuit is made up mostly of twists and turns.
What makes the Dutch Grand Prix special?
The race was staged 34 times between 1948 and 1985, with all bar the first four of those events forming part of the Formula One World Championship. Ferrari claimed victory on nine occasions, while the leading driver was Britain’s Jim Clark, with four wins, ahead of Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda on three. F1 chairman and CEO Carey commented: “In recent years, we’ve seen a resurgence of interest in Formula 1 in Holland, mainly due to the enthusiastic support for the talented Max Verstappen, as seen from the sea of orange at so many races. No doubt this will be the dominant colour in the Zandvoort grandstands next year.”
Autodromo di Monza
Venue for the Italian Grand Prix, September 12
This 5,79 kilometres long track close to Milano was constructed in 1922, one of the first purpose-built racing tracks in the world. The history of the circuit is closely linked to that other great Italian name in F1: Ferrari. Monza is one of the fastest circuits on the F1 schedule, 75% of the lap drivers go full throttle.
What makes the Italian Grand Prix special?
Apart from the atmosphere, with tens of thousands knowledgeable and enthusiastic ‘tifosi’, Monza is guaranteed to offer spectacular racing. The combination of long straight stretches and narrow chicanes is a challenge to both drivers and cars. At the end of the race, brakes and bodies are completely worn out.
Venue for the Russian Grand Prix, September 26
Sochi Autodrom is located in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. The track is part of a complex used for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and consists of two circuits. The large circuit, including 1.7 kilometres of public roads, is used only for F1 races. It is 5.85 kilometres long and features 19 corners: 12 right turns and seven left turns.
What makes the Russian Grand Prix special?
The circuit’s combination of long straights and high-speed corners makes it one of the fastest Formula One tracks. It is also one of the longest, after Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone. When the first Formula 1 race was held here in 2014, it marked the end of a 30-year campaign for a Russian Grand Prix.
Intercity Istanbul Park
Venue for the Turkish Grand Prix, October 10
Designed by well-known architect Hermann Tilke, it is 5.338 km in length and features 14 turns, running in an anticlockwise direction. The sharpest corner has a radius of only 15 metres and this undulating circuit runs over four different ground levels. Turn 8, nicknamed ‘Diabolica’, is a fast, sweeping corner expected to contribute towards rapid tyre wear.
What makes the Turkish Grand Prix special?
Felipe Massa claimed a hat-trick of wins here for Ferrari from 2006 to 2008 and when it returned in 2020 after a nine-year absence, Lewis Hamilton wrapped up his seventh world title by prevailing. Rain wreaked havoc that weekend, with Hamilton stating: “With this track and the new surface here, you see people who are professional, incredible drivers, losing control, that’s how slippery and difficult the conditions were. You know what you normally do in the rain, but this was different, in the sense that this is ice! I don’t remember having an ice race before.”
Circuit of the Americas
Venue for the United States Grand Prix, October 24
This circuit near Austin, Texas, is 5.5 kilometres long and has 20 corners: nine right turns and 11 left turns. The driving direction is anti-clockwise. The lay-out is partly based on the Silverstone and Hockenheim circuits. It is a recent circuit, officially opened on October 21, 2012 , with Mario Andretti running the ceremonial first laps in a Lotus 79. The Circuit of the Americas also hosts the Moto GP.
What makes the American Grand Prix special?
The elevation difference of 40.5 metres offers special problems to drivers. A nice feature of the circuit is the wide corners. They encourage drivers to follow multiple racing lines, which makes for exciting overtaking battles.
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Venue for the Mexican Grand Prix, October 31
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City measures 4.304 kilometres and has 17 turns. It is named after two Mexican brothers, who both died in racing accidents. Due to the many high-speed corners, it’s one of the faster circuits on the F1 calendar. The circuit is not only used for car races: the Mexico City marathon also finishes with a lap on the track.
What makes the Mexican Grand Prix special?
For one, the track is notoriously bumpy. Another challenge is the elevation: at 2,285 metres the air is thin, which poses problems to both drivers and engineers.
Venue for the Brazilian Grand Prix, November 7
This 4.309 kilometre long circuit in Sao Paulo runs counter-clockwise and features 15 turns. The official name is Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, after a Brazilian Formula One driver who died in a 1977 plane crash. The circuit has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix since 1972. Apart from car racing, the track is also used for cycling races.
What makes the Brazilian Grand Prix special?
The combination of a section with tight and slow corners and a long straight stretch make it one of the most varied circuits around, with lots of exciting overtaking opportunities. The hilly ground, the heat and the unpredictable weather conditions add to the challenges the Brazilian Grand Prix offers to both drivers and cars.
Losail International Circuit
Venue for the Qatar Grand Prix, November 21
This track, situated 20 miles outside of Doha, fills the vacant slot left by the cancelled Australian Grand Prix. It is just under 5.4km in length, with 16 turns and a main straight of 1,068 metres. It is surrounded by artificial grass to stop sand encroaching on the track and has lighting for night races. A regular MotoGP and Superbike World Championship venue, it also staged a couple of GP2 Asia races back in 2009, won by Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.
What makes the Qatar Grand Prix special?
The inaugural event in Qatar will begin a hat-trick of races in the Middle East which end the current campaign. It was also announced that this event will join the F1 calendar on a permanent basis in a 10-year deal from 2023. An F1 statement read: “The step from the gesture to be helpful to F1 in 2021 to a long-term strategy was short and simple and the vision for F1 to be the showcase for Qatar after the FIFA World Cup in 2022 was the driving force behind this long-term agreement.” Ooredoo – the international communications company – is the title sponsor.
Jeddah Street Circuit
Venue for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, December 5
A first running of this race will be staged alongside the Red Sea in the port city of Jeddah on a new circuit designed by German engineer Hermann Tilke, who has worked on fresh projects in Sepang, Bahrain, Shanghai, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Sochi and Baku. Tilke has been criticised for building boring tracks, but Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Faisal, the president of Saudi Arabia’s motorsport federation, said: “Our goal is to make it an exciting and thrilling race. We don’t want it to be one of those boring races where there is no overtaking.”
What makes the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix special?
This will be the second circuit to stage a full night race. It will be based around the beautiful corniche on the seafront of Saudi Arabia’s second-biggest city, so some spectacular sights look guaranteed. Prince Khalid added: “I can promise you it’s going to stand out. It’s not only about the scenery…for us, racing needs to be exciting, needs to be fast. We want to create a street race where it looks nice, the event, the environment is nice, but at the same time it’s a thrilling race.”
Yas Marina Circuit
Venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, December 12
The Yas Marina Circuit is 5.55 kilometres long and has 21 corners: nine right turns and 12 left turns. The driving direction is anti-clockwise. The track is built on an island which also features the world’s largest indoor theme park, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. The combination of some long straights and lots of hairpins make it a varied and exciting track, where overtaking is extremely challenging.
What makes Abu Dhabi Grand Prix special?
Besides its unique location on an island, it is the only circuit where all the grandstands are covered to protect spectators from the desert sun. Another unique feature of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is that is starts in daylight and ends in the dark.